Jill Scott Is Haunting & Magical On Tour With Help From BJ The Chicago Kid -- 'Woman' Available Today! [Recap]
Jill Scott live in Brooklyn at Kings Theatre. (Photo: Elliott Ashby)

Jill Scott Is Haunting & Magical On Tour With Help From BJ The Chicago Kid -- 'Woman' Available Today! [Recap + Photos]

[photos by Elliott Ashby]

Jill Scott's new LP Woman is officially available today -- and as we discovered when speaking to her last week for the 15th anniversary of her debut Who Is Jill Scott?, this new album serves an intimate, autobiographical journey through the heart of this woman at various stages of her life. Described as “classic Philly soul meets country rhythm served with captivating storytelling,” Scott executive produced the album with longtime friend and colleague Andre Harris (also credited on her hits “A Long Walk” and “The Way”) and songwriter/producer Aaron Pearce.

On the eve of unveiling her newest project to the world, Jilly from Philly spent last night in Brooklyn, NY with a few thousand of her closest friends at Kings Theatre. The significance of the timing and the emotion of the moment were not lost on the songstress as she closed her hour+ set with heartfelt words for the packed house (and for those who watched online courtesy of Yahoo!). Seeming a bit choked up, or perhaps overcome after having left it all on the stage, Jill paused a moment to survey the room and catch her breath before smiling: "thank you so much for the past 15 years. It's really been dope!"

Dope, indeed, as the night started with star-on-the-rise, BJ The Chicago Kid, who opened his set with sultry melodies like "Perfect," before launching into the lead single "Church" (which features Chance The Rapper) from his upcoming Motown LP.  Midway through his set, he asked the audience "do ya'll mind if we turn it up a bit?" They responded with cheers as he continued -- relaxed, confident and commanding the stage as he and his band performed with the energy of a rap concert and the sultry, soulful feel of an R&B set. He closed with "Studio," his Grammy-nominated collaboration with SchoolBoy Q, leaning into his baby blue, old school mic to thank the room.

Soon after, Jill took the stage to raucous applause and proceeded to entertain the room with music and anecdotes that gave the feeling of a one-woman show ready for the Broadway stage. Her realness -- among the things longtime fans most revere about the artist -- was evident as she told stories of lost loves, pantomimed pulling money out of her bra (don't we all have at least one auntie who still considers that the safest place for stashing cash?), and even licked her fingers when describing the best of the best lovin'. Her seven-piece band included a two-man horn section, lead and bass guitarists, a percussionist, and a drummer -- all in addition to her three background singers, lovingly dubbed "The Pipes" (accurate for both their vocal talents and the way they play stunning choreography to Jill's Gladys Knight moments center stage). Also worth noting: her entire band and singers wore matching neon kicks and looked to be playing the gig of their lives; check the photo gallery for a proper visual.

Clearly well-rehearsed and seasoned vets, the band was perfect support and accent to Jill, whose voice was warm and strong from opening notes of "Gimme," into "The Real Thing," and on to crowd favorite "The Way," where she sat back and let the crowd take the lead with a little call and response -- "What'd you have?" (toast) "And what else?" (two scrambled eggs). A smile on her face throughout, occasionally dabbing her face with a makeup sponge, she made the audience laugh with personal introductions to new songs from Woman. With the ease of a BFF talking to her close girlfriends, she joked: "I would call this [song] 'The Last Screw' if it wasn't called 'Closure'..." She also took a moment to reflect on her son: "he's six! I didn't break him or nothin'!" before singing the beautiful track "(Put Me) Back Together" in his honor.

Midway through the set, she stopped and announced "my new album is coming out tomorrow!" with the giddy joy of a child on Christmas Eve. Jill The Poet was also evident at several points in the evening, particularly when she reflected on wondering what love really is today and noted "some of it is really watery... as soon as it gets too hot, it evaporates." She also made sure to let the audience know that -- even if the folks behind them seemed bothered -- she was perfectly okay with everyone being on their feet with her as she and the band held a quick jam session before she belted out "Fool's Gold" in a way that seemed to resonate and linger with most present.

Jill also took a moment to remind us to "wake up" as she murmured "my mouth say Sandra Bland, my mouth say Sandra Bland, my mouth say Sandra Bland..." speaking to the woman who recently died in police custody. One of her most poignant statements of the night: "Revolution is not done in the light. Revolution is done in the dark. There are no cameras allowed."

The night closed with everyone on their feet for "Golden" -- as one would expect -- before she ended with a version of "He Loves Me" that built up to a chilling, operatic display of just how incredible her voice truly is. Giving us a taste of what it would be like to experience a high-drama, soul opera starring Jill as prima donna, she ran through haunting notes with passion, singing "gracias, dios." At which point, we also gave thanks for the night and the talent that is Jill Scott.